How many times have you had a knock at the door, only to discover it was a salesperson hawking magazines or other wares? These days, many of us do not like to open our doors for anyone, because we have grown cynical and distrustful of people.
Guess what? It was the same in Jesus’ time. In Luke 19, as Jesus was entering Jericho, a tax collector named Zacchaeus climbed a tree to get a better view of Jesus. Jesus noticed him and said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today” (Luke 19:5). When Jesus said this, the people in that town said, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner’” (Luke 19:7). They were distrustful of Zacchaeus, and did not understand why Jesus bothered to talk to him.
Yes, Jesus could have easily ignored the little man in the tree—but he didn’t. He ended up staying with Zacchaeus and teaching him, causing Zacchaeus to change his immoral methods of collecting taxes. Jesus did this because he wanted to express his love for Zacchaeus and because he knew that Zacchaeus was worth the risk.
Jesus was constantly developing relationships with people—talking with them, sharing meals with them, and expressing his love for them. Often, we do not want to be bothered with other people. We get caught up in our own circles, because it takes too much energy or risk to venture out. It takes courage to develop relationships with people. Sometimes it means ignoring our own biases. But relationships are vital for fulfilling the Great Commission. Door knocking campaigns and mass mailings have limited appeal in a cynical world. If we can initiate real, genuine relationships with people, we will be able to naturally share the love of Jesus with them. Who do you know that needs Jesus? What will you do about it?